Keeping people motivated and engaged at work takes effort, especially for remote and distributed teams. And managers that prioritize virtual team building activities will win out in the long-run.
In fact, 2500% more organizations worldwide are investing in virtual team building in response to COVID-19 (TeamBuilding).
If you’re looking for ways to improve the employee experience, we wanted to share some options for inspiration, many of which have worked for our team.
Read on to understand why virtual team building is so important today and our creative ideas to connect and build stronger teams online.
Why are Virtual Team Building Activities Important?
Remote workers run the risk of feeling isolated and left out of important decision-making conversations.
And when employees feel distanced, they are less comfortable to reach out for questions and collaborate with team members.
That’s what it’s so important to remove any communication barriers and create a work environment where people feel comfortable and connected.
Virtual team building activities can help colleagues learn about each other and what they enjoy doing in and out of work to create belonging and community across teams.
These types of activities improve employee morale and engagement that can lead to higher productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
Ideas for Virtual Team Building Activities
1. Virtual Lunch Dates
Taking a lunch break with coworkers is a great way to nurture relationships and can be effective even when they’re virtual.
We started monthly “Nosh at EveryoneSocial” events, where small groups of people from different teams get together to share lunch and stories from the week.
What’s great about these events is that you have the opportunity to see people from departments you might not work with as much or see as often in meetings.
Having teams expense lunch delivery is an appreciated perk and makes it easy to schedule in the day.
2. Online Office Games
Work hard and play harder – games are fun and engaging ways for teams to get together with a little friendly competition.
Whether its trivia, pictionary, an escape room, or jeopardy, games can be a great break from the work day, as well as a chance to show off your creative side and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
Our team hosted an Emoji-Go scavenger hunt to find real-life versions of emojis. It offered a chance to get outside and share a little more about where we live with each other.
Games offer the opportunity to learn about your teammate’s hidden skills and the way they think in a fun and unique way.
3. Show and Tell
Learning and sharing skills is a great option for team building. So we’re taking a cue from our kindergarten days and suggesting Show and Tell.
Choose a different team member each week to share about something they love, a place they’ve been, or even about a new project they’re excited to be working on.
Show and Tell is a great virtual team building activity because it encourages everyone to get a chance to share and gives teams opportunities to look back at all they’ve accomplished.
4. Virtual Break Room
Keep the water cooler moments alive by sharing photos or videos with the office.
Some ideas that are very popular for our teams include:
- New recipes or food
- Work from home setups
- TV shows we’re watching
- Wildlife sightings
We use the EveryoneSocial platform to share these moments with everyone at the company and start conversations about shared interests.
Sometimes you need to take a break from the work talk and get to know coworkers on a more personal level. And icebreakers are still a great way to do that.
What was your first concert you attended? Where do you most want to travel to next? What’s your favorite movie? What are your biggest goals this year?
When we announce new hires and introduce them to our team, we have each new coworker share unique stories and facts about themselves. It’s been a fun way to find colleagues with similar interests and build relationships from the start.
6. Stop, Collaborate, and LISTEN
Yes, that was a Vanilla Ice reference. Even though people are working from different locations, a lot of us are listening to music during the day and want to share that experience with each other.
Have everyone add their favorite songs to create a shared playlist that anyone can listen to and enjoy.
Maybe it will lead to a virtual dance party at your next meeting!
7. Interactive Experiences
Learning new skills together can be an incredible opportunity for teams to work together on something creative outside of work.
Marketplaces like Offsyte make it easy to discover and schedule high-quality team events that are interactive and exciting. Maybe your team wants to experience some magic, learn a new recipe, or solve a murder mystery.
You can even take a company “trip to Paris” with Woyago to tour the City of Light, pedal around the sights, sample wine and cheese, and more.
There are a lot of creative and fun events that teams will enjoy and lead to a positive team building experience.
8. Virtual Book Club
A book club allows for remote teams to mingle and socialize while also engaging in critical thinking and sharing different opinions.
Share a book with the whole company and then set time for a virtual conversation about what they learned and liked about it.
This is a great chance to develop communication skills and employee engagement, as well as learning about a topic that’s important to your industry or people.
Personality quizzes and results offer a way to learn more about your coworkers’ working styles, dreams, goals, and preferences.
And they’re a fun way to find out about how teams can work better together by understanding what motivates them or how they think.
We shared Adobe’s What Creative Type Are You? Quiz around the office and shared our results. It doesn’t have to be just for one team, but an entire organization to get to know each other better and build on our strengths.
10. Office Tour
Getting a glimpse of someone’s life outside of work builds trust and camaraderie. Which can lead to higher employee morale and teamwork.
Take your team on a tour around where you’re working from – whether that’s at home or back in the office, it helps to understand what your team’s daily life is like and what’s important to them.
Measuring Virtual Team Building Effectiveness
To gauge the effectiveness of any virtual team building activities, you’ll want to measure the results of your efforts.
Metrics to look at are volume of employee conversations and how often people are sharing across teams and to their networks.
A combination of employee advocacy and virtual team management software (like Jira, Trello, or Slack) will help you track engagement and sharing levels.
These tools will help connect employees to each other and easily share updates and content. And give you the data you need to evaluate progress and develop stronger connections at your company.
Tools for Virtual Team Building Activities
To help plan and host these virtual team building activities, it’s helpful for companies to invest in the tools and resources that can help employees feel supported and engaged.
The EveryoneSocial platform is how our team helps employees see the impact of employee engagement on your business.
EveryoneSocial allows for everyone at a company – senior leadership, middle managers, entry level employees, and frontline workers – to share better, provide feedback, and recognize each other for their accomplishments.
Employees have a centralized hub for access to the latest company content and their team members latest updates.
The platform makes it easy to implement the employee engagement strategies and virtual team building activities that will most benefit your teams and business performance.